The looming challenges for insurance companies around the globe have been highlighted again in the 8th edition of the Capgemini / Efma co-production World Insurance Report 2015. Upon reading you may feel overwhelmed, confused where to start and whether your efforts can ever be enough to meet all the fierce demands customers have. Past recommendations in World Insurance Reports included emphasis on customer satisfaction, loyalty (2007), customer and distribution analysis (2008), multi distribution model (2009), efficient claim handling (2011), policy administration renewal (2012), mobile (2013), digital transformation (2014). This year a customer-centric approach is the core message in the recommendations section.
A journey from single, multi to all-channel experience
Not so long ago we used to have separate distributors. Direct writers, intermediaries, small family business alongside large Moloch. Mergers and acquisitions brought a myriad of applications and approaches for basically similar core business processes. Wealth accumulation in the economic prosperity was replaced by severe cost-cutting operations in the down tide of the past years. Green field operations to start up small internet-only insurance brands were combined with disposal of well-known brand names, rich history to be replaced by clean slate fancy names. Shifting demands and focus on new strategic directions like mobile, big data & analytics, 24/7 availability, the role of insurance in the sharing economy and risks of the Internet of Things (IoT) may rather cause nightmares than daydreams.
Building the bridge as you walk on it
In a world where monolithic COBOL application maintenance with restrictions on the amount of yearly releases, a waterfall system development method takes place in one corner of your IT department, other employees struggle to realize business owner’s prioritized requirements on back logs applying an agile approach. Simultaneously new management take customer journeys seriously, choose whether or not to deploy the same brand name in all distribution channels and move away from being only a specialist insurance company. Recent insurance press articles and interviews highlight initiatives like a consortium of AIG, Guy Carpenter & Company, XL Group, Marsh & McLennan Companies and Zurich Insurance Group on microinsurance in Latin America and Asia, Pay how you drive (Aviva) and the value of Defined Contribution pension arrangements at retirement where interest rates in Western Europe are at a all-time low.
Simplifying your IT landscape is a necessity to reduce operational costs. If you still think you can work inside-out, and neglect a customer-centric approach, your competitors will enlarge market share, since customers can switch easily. The World Insurance Report 2015 contains the Capgemini Insurance All Channel Experience (ACE) Business Maturity Model, in which you can plot your current capabilities and define your strategy to grow into a more mature state in a couple of years.
Most insurers have never fully developed a road map and business case for becoming a thoroughly customer-centric organization, nor have allocated resources to execute such a plan. Speed and agility are required. The analogy of building a bridge as you walk on it comes to mind.
Only by by developing comprehensive plans for proficiency across the Business Maturity matrix insurers can counteract the waves of disruptive change that are threatening to undermine the business and profitability. For each pillar under the bridge the World Insurance Report 2015 elaborates current leading and potential future practices. These will help you envision and deploy your own future, both risk aware and confident of the strategic direction.